Shutting down athletes is particularly common is baseball when it comes to a pitcher, but on rare occasions do you ever see it in football. In this 2013 season we have seen it more than maybe ever before with the Washington Redskins shutting down quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Packers considering shutting down Aaron Rogers for next season.
The St. Louis Rams have found themselves in a similar situation now with wide receiver Tavon Austin injuring his ankle December 8 against the Arizona Cardinals and forcing him to miss last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
With the Rams out of playoff contention and with no other reason to play for other than pride and for next year, head coach Jeff Fisher needs to consider shutting down his big playmaker as to not cause further injury to his ankle.
Ankle injuries are ones that tend to linger and can bother a player for a significant amount of time. One player that could certainly attest to this is Sam Bradford who injured his ankle in his sophomore season in the NFL.
Bradford’s injury bothered him the entire season that year causing him to miss six games, and in the games he did play, he was not even close to 100%. Bradford’s injury lingered all the way into the next offseason. Bradford was quoted saying this in August of 2012 about his injury,
“It’s close,” Bradford said of his left ankle injury. “I think it’s as good as it’s going to feel. It’s something that we’re managing right now. I’ve been able to take every snap so far without any setbacks and I think that’s a positive sign.”
After almost a year Bradford’s ankle was still not 100%. Bradford overcame his shaky ankle however and got back to playing at a high level. He was playing at that level once again this season with no signs that the ankle was a problem until he tore his ACL.
The last thing that the Rams need at this point is for one of their young players with high potential to worsen his ankle injury playing meaningless football.
In Austin’s absence the Rams will be able to find out what they have in Stedman Bailey, what the future is for Austin Pettis, as well as get other players reps that they normally wouldn’t get.
The Rams are in a situation right now in which they are in position to build something very special. The Rams are a year or two away from being serious contenders and you would hate to ruin that by unnecessarily pushing an injury like this to its limits. An injury like this could potentially bother a player for his entire career if not treated properly.
If you ask any NFL player they always want to play, hurt or not. Last season Griffin III refused to leave the NFC Wild Card game and ended up tearing his ACL and MCL.
There’s no question Tavon Austin wants to play, but it could be in his best interest that the Rams shut him down and get him 100% healthy for next season instead of risk injuring his ankle any further and setting him back.